Transformation in progress

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Housing Work underway to convert YMCA building into apartment building

Work on gutting the old YMCA building on Renouf Crescent has started, though it may be mid-July before the transformation into an apartment building is evident to passersby.

The 45-year-old building on Renouf Crescent, an elementary school prior to being taken over by the Humber Community YMCA, is being converted into a 29-unit apartment building by Trueman Developments.

An artist's conception of the building's new face. Photo by Gary Kean/The Telegram

Corner Brook - Work on gutting the old YMCA building on Renouf Crescent has started, though it may be mid-July before the transformation into an apartment building is evident to passersby.

The 45-year-old building on Renouf Crescent, an elementary school prior to being taken over by the Humber Community YMCA, is being converted into a 29-unit apartment building by Trueman Developments.

The New Brunswick-based company is also planning to eventually build a second structure containing 33 apartments adjacent to the refurbished building.

After a public consultation with neighbourhood residents and other members of the public, Corner Brook city council gave the project the go-ahead at its last public meeting. The developers obtained a demolition permit about two weeks ago and hopes to apply for a building permit and shift into construction mode in the next two weeks.

"Most of the interior walls have been demolished and the mechanical and electrical systems removed," said Joe Tippett, who is co-owner of Trueman Developments with business partner Larry Sowerby. "We have some asbestos piping and we have people coming in this week to get all of that out of here. We also have to take the boiler out."

By around the middle of July, work should begin on building a second floor onto the main section of the building and placing roof trusses on top. In the gymnasium section, a second floor will also be built, topped with new trusses.

Tippett said the final touches are being put on the architectural design and the company should be ordering in much of the main construction components - windows, elevator, steel beams and trusses in the coming weeks.

He said there have been some modifications from the original plans, much of which came about from an ongoing dialogue with the city and neighbourhood residents.

"The changes have really been the result of, not just the city's planning staff, but some of the residents in the area who wanted to see a bit more of the townsite design incorporated into our design," said Tippett. "That can be seen in some of the peaks and the type of windows we are planning to have.

"It's been a real positive that they had the chance to have that input in the last six months or so."

West Valley Gardens will be rental property marketed mainly to retirees and seniors looking to get out of home ownership. That target market has also resulted in some modifications, namely going with a 29-unit complex rather than the original 31 units.

"The shape of some units were just not conducive to what we thought the market would bring in for this site," he said. "We have found people wanted larger units and we had difficulty getting much response for the one-bedroom units, so we made some changes."

There are no changes planned for the second building, which will have three floors with 11 units each, although it has been suggested to build eight larger units on the top floor. Tippett, who hoped to have tenants living at West Valley Gardens late this fall, said there is still plenty of time to decide how and when to proceed with the second building.

"We have to do this old school first and we have to do it perfectly or there won't be a second building," said Tippett.

"We recognize we may have to spend a little more time, effort and money on some items in this first phase and the second phase will sell itself."

Tippett also doesn't think KSAB Construction's redevelopment of the former Columbus Club right next door into a condominium complex will affect the viability of the West Valley Gardens project.

"We will be renting and they will be selling," he pointed out. "There's probably a market here for both."

Organizations: YMCA, Columbus Club

Geographic location: Corner Brook, West Valley Gardens

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  • Mavis
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Is anyone doing anything for affordable housing or is greed the only game in town? And why is there no labour section in a newspaper. We newspaper readers are not all rich investors you know.

  • Mavis
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Is anyone doing anything for affordable housing or is greed the only game in town? And why is there no labour section in a newspaper. We newspaper readers are not all rich investors you know.